Team Judged as One of the Best In Colorado
~ by Trevor Phipps ~
Every year, the Woodland Park High School cheerleading squad goes to the state competition to show off their dancing and cheering skills
But, for the first year in the school’s history, the cheerleaders got invited to the second day of finals during the annual statewide competition that was held at the Denver Coliseum during the first week of December.
Not only did the co-ed cheer team make the final round in state, they finished in fourth place in the Colorado 4A high school co-ed cheer category! To make their championship bid more challenging, just prior to the state competition, the team went through a last-minute coaching change that put previous assistant coach Wendy Peel into the head skipper position and added Nicole Geniesse onto the team’s coaching staff, three weeks before the team competed in the state tourney.
“It was a good experience for the girls and the guys on the team,” cheer coach Peel said. “When we heard our name called, that was probably one of the most exciting things. We were just little Woodland Park and we thought we did fantastic, but once you hear your name called it becomes a different kind of thing.”
Peel, who had never been a coach before, came into the team with the help of Geniesse and was able to bring success to the high school cheerleading squad. Peel said that Geniesse helped her tremendously and assisted with developing the team’s routines.
The cheerleading squad consists of 18 girls and three boys that proved to dominate during the state competition. While in Denver, the team was challenged with several tests of their abilities.
According to Peel, the team competed by showcasing their talents with jumps, dance moves, tumbling and even building a human pyramid. Officially, the team competed on December 6 and 7. During the first day of competition, they were judged in seven different categories and during the finals they were given scores based on their performance in events including stunt strip, tumble mat, full mat and deck.
The state competition that invites every school in Colorado that has a cheerleading team, brings over 350 teams to the Denver Coliseum each year. However, only 69 of the teams that go to state annually get asked to return to the Mile High City’s coliseum for the next day of the state finals competition. And this year, for the first time ever, the Panther cheering squad just happened to be chosen as one of the select group that makes it to the finals.
Even though the team has basically proven their success during 2019, their work is not yet over. The team’s head coach explained that the cheerleaders have the longest season out of any other high school sports team.
The cheerleaders start their season before any other school sport during the summer time when they go to camp to practice. Then, as soon as the school year starts, they are out on the gridiron cheering on Panther football players.
After the football season comes to an end, the girls compete in the state championship before they are back out helping Panther fans support their team until the end of the high school basketball season.